In Memoriam

This entry is dedicated to Yasmin Ahmad.

She was not just a copywriter. She was a storyteller. After a stellar career in Leo Burnett Advertising, Malaysia, she came out to do what she loves and does best : filmmaking.

Many of you may not be familiar with her commercials and work, so here’s a smattering of samples that are floating around youtube. Her work speaks the truth that we Malaysians cannot say out loud [not only for fear of ISA, but because we are either too damn polite or we are just so je ne sais quoi], that we all need to look beyond our rac and treat each others as human beings.

Click to enjoy, and please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Here’s a very lovely and touching commercial that Ms. Ahmad did for the Singaporean “Think Family” organisation. </sarcasm on> Where the esteemed censor men  in our very respected censor department could not recognise, our silly Southern neighbour did. </sarcasm off>

The trailer to “Sepet” [loose translation : slitty eyes].Can you believe that our </sarcasm on> dear esteemed censorship board </sarcasm off> made her cut a few scenes out, notably a scene where a Malay girl enters a Chinese foodshop? Just cause you know, a Malay walking into a place that sells pork is rather.. scandalous and could really seriously damage our morals and influence Muslims to eat pork. Hmm. On the flipside, I don’t eat beef due to religion, and have walked / ate in places that sell beef [hello, Mickey D’s!] and I have yet to succumb.

“Muallaf” [The Convert] trailer. Not shown in Malaysia cause it’d be horribly mangled, so our lovely Southern neighbours got lucky. Methinks Foo even went to the premiere and took a picture with the esteemed Ms. Ahmad herself. *scratches head trynna remember exact post

To watch more of her movies, just search Yasmin Ahmad.

Tis a dark and hollow time for us right now. Instead of progressing, it seems to me that we are regressing.


Posted on July 26, 2009, in Malaysiana. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. She has done so many more ads, for CNY, for Aidilfitri, for Deepavali.. all of which will bring a tear to your eye..

  2. *hugs* hope you are okay.

    I loved Family.

  3. Hi Mei,
    I wanted to thank you for sharing these ads – I’d never seen these before or even heard of Yasmin Ahmed.
    I was born in Malaysia, and even though I haven’t lived there for over 20 years, I get the context of these ads and appreciate the message in them.

    • You’re very much welcome. I hope the videos touched you as much as it has touched all of us.

      Her work transcends race, creed and religion, something *all* of us [not just Malaysians] should strive to work on.


  4. i’m sorry it took me so long to watch these. thank you for sharing, i loved them all.

  5. ‘On the flipside, I don’t eat beef due to religion, and have walked / ate in places that sell beef [hello, Mickey D’s!] and I have yet to succumb.’

    The religious authorities in Malaysia (and across the Muslim world, for that matter) have yet to read An-Na’im’s ‘Islam And The Secular State’, in which he contends that, to be a true Muslim, Islam has to be separated from state policy as true faith can only ever be chosen freely. To wit: ‘Belief in Islam, or any other religion, logically requires the possibility of disbelief, because belief has no value if it is coerced.’

    But, of course, when a party defined along racial lines makes it a point to position itself as the exclusive defender of its people (from the rapacious Other, no less) and, as such, derives its support solely from that particular ethno-religious voting bloc, giving this constituency the choice to opt out is the last thing it would want to do.

    • Hi Hong,

      Thank you for dropping by.

      Yes, you are right. However, it is not just Muslim countries that need a secular state. I truly believe that religion and politics do not a good match make, and France got it right in the 18th century! But alas, we are human, and to err is human. Some people believe that “religion” can be used as their moral beacon, but on the other hand, to what extent can we use “religion” as a guiding light instead of relying on morals and decency?

      Racial politics for SOME reason is making a grand entry into our beloved country. Makes one wonder how the extremists got in here, doesn’t it?

      • Yes, the An-Na’im quote suggests the same should apply to all religions. I only focused on the Muslim angle because you were referring to Malaysia and An-Na’im’s book was meant to tackle the problem of secularism in Islam specifically.

        Fellow Malaysian Aloysious Mowe wrote an interesting piece on the difference between the French and American concepts of secularism here:

        Common Ground News Service – Complex Forces Behind The Veil

        And no, I personally don’t think religion can be used as any sort of moral beacon. I’m not saying there aren’t good values in all religions, it’s just that whatever bad values that also come with the package (intolerance seems to be a popular one) are often not up for any rational discussion.

  1. Pingback: Irreplaceable - Yasmin Ahmad « FoOie’s Haven

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